The Saratoga Sun -

BSB celebrates a year 'down the street'


Max Miller

Volunteers Jo Waliser, left, and Nancy Vargas in the packed store.

Late last month, Saratoga's charitable thrift shop Bridge Street Bargains celebrated one year at its current location at 114 East Bridge Avenue. It was an important landmark for an oddities emporium that has grown into a pillar of the community.

According to Nancy Vargas, who volunteers regularly at the shop, it's been a busy and productive year at the Bridge Avenue business. Things could have turned out differently.

Last year when the lease on Bridge Street's old location was not renewed, volunteers had to reorganize and reformulate quickly in order to keep the doors open. As if a change in venue wasn't tough enough to deal with on its own, the shop simultaneously got "new management" in the form of a novel three-person board. All of a sudden, Julie Evans, Carol Beach and Merlynn Hoopes had to figure out how to keep the business thriving even as the ground was shifting under their feet.

"We wanted to stay on Bridge (Avenue) since it's named Bridge Street Bargains, and (the current location) was available, so we moved," Vargas explained. The current location was a little smaller than the old one down the street, Vargas said, but it suited the thrift shop's needs nicely. Formerly, 114 East Bridge Avenue had hosted a computer repair shop, Vargas said.

Max Miller

Bridge Street Bargains newest location.

"We did some painting and purchased some display cases and whatnot," and then put out the open for business sign, according to Vargas. Vargas said she came on shortly after the move but that about half of the current pool of volunteers had also volunteered at the old location.

Vargas called her weekly volunteering a good "opportunity to be out in the community": and said that opportunity was "pretty much why we all do it." A guest book in the shop records unanimously positive feedback from patrons, Vargas reported, and the sharp smell of percolating coffee is a great olfactory backdrop for visiting with bargain-savvy neighbors on a chilly winter morning.

"We're always looking for more volunteers and student volunteers," Vargas said. "We get new things every single day, and that's what keeps people coming back" she continued. Drop on by: for a cup of coffee, to help out those in need or to find a bargain of a lifetime.


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